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FOR-USA leaders and members work tirelessly to improve, if not change, public policy and views to realize an equitable society. We establish numerous cooperative partnerships, often working in coalition with other faith-based advocacy groups, and leading national peace & justice organizations, enabling us to extend our resources and efforts, with the ultimate hope of reaching this goal.
We have tackled such issues as climate crisis, environmental issues affecting public safety, ending torture in U.S. prisons, ceasing the widespread use of solitary confinement, and the mobilization for a nuclear-free, peaceful and sustainable world.
FOR-USA regularly signs on to national coalition letters and petitions that mobilize religious and community leaders to press political and corporate decision-makers on public policy issues.
Our Advocacy Work Means that We:
- Stay on top of emerging issues and their effect on social progress.
- Report on crises, and conduct in-depth analysis of situations as they develop.
- Launch petitions, write letters and declarations, and influence.
- Meet with representatives at all levels of government as well as at the UN.
- Use our knowledge gained to provide solutions and help shape new national and international policies.
- Speak out for the vulnerable, voiceless and marginalized to ensure they are recognized and heard.
Key Advocacy Priorities:
Over the years, FOR-USA has been involved in a diverse range of issues.
While we remain engaged in all, we have directed our primary focus to key priorities:
LGBTQ Rights and Justice
When it comes to social progress, FOR-USA is a trailblazer and inclusivity a strong point. This is reflected in our past with the first lesbian Co-Executive Director in 1922, decades before there was a formal LGBTQ movement. Throughout our history, and up to the present, LGBTQ have been represented in all branches of the organization, including three more appointments to the Executive Director position. FORusa will continue to be at the forefront of LGBTQ issues.
• Live openly, free of discrimination.
• Equal rights.
• Freedom of expression and association.
• Eliminate LGBTQ adoption discrimination.
Racial Justice - Reparations
Reparations is important to heal the moral injury, which extends from slavery. It is restitution for past harms that have affected multiple generations, from which trauma has emerged. This is not exclusive to the U.S., but an issue that exists in many other countries. What Reparations means is beyond financial compensation. We need to think about Reparations and decide what’s next, what it will look like seeking repairs, and making it a global effort.
Civil Rights - Voting
The right to vote is restricted. We have fewer voting rights today than 50 years ago (since 2013, 23 states have passed racist voter suppression laws).
• Full restoration of the Voting Rights Act.
• An end to placing judges on the federal bench who vote against voting rights.
• Reversal of state laws preempting local governments from passing minimum wage increases and the removal of emergency financial management positions.
• Statehood voting rights and representation for the 690,000 citizens in D.C.
Indigenous Rights & Justice
Native American tribes are scarred by a history of tribal genocide, forced assimilation, repression as well as family separation. After 30 years of opposition, the U.S. adopted the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in 2010 (adopted by the UN in 2007). Because it is not legally binding, there is a significant lack in enforcement — as in the case of the 2016 construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, which was in direct violation. FORusa’s Executive Director was one of the faith leaders who requested an urgent meeting with President Obama to voice strong opposition to the DAPL and condemned the use of extreme non-lethal force on protestors.
Indigenous treaties are being broken when economic interests outweigh tribal rights. Policies consistent with diminishing tribal land rights, sovereignty, and resource issues have multiplied under the Trump administration and proposals to privatize Native lands are in consideration.
• Recognized human and civil rights.
• End violence against indigenous women.
• Protection of tribal land, resources, the environment and cultural heritage.
Poverty & Inequality
Poverty and inequality is widespread and spans age, gender, race and culture.
• Implement federal and state living wage laws. Commensurate with 21st Century economy.
• Equal pay for equal work.
• An end to anti-union and anti-worker rights.
• Expansion in public housing.
• End Child poverty.
• Fully-funded welfare programs for the poor and end of attacks on SNAP and HEAP.
• Expand Medicare in every state.
• People with disabilities assistance (health care, accessible housing, etc).
• Fully funded public resources for mental health professionals to battle addiction and recovery programs.
• Equality in education.
• Relief from crushing student debt.
• Just taxes paid by corporations and the wealthy.
Immigrant Rights & Justice
There is crisis in the country with families being ripped apart. Undocumented immigrants and refugees are being treated inhumanely, without compassion. FOR-USA is committed to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in this country. With harsher immigration enforcement today, FOR-USA is committed to ensuring access to justice for immigrant families and asylum seekers.
Beyond the effort to pass federal immigration reform, local groups have advocated for: legislation that would allow undocumented immigrants to attend college (the DREAM Act) and obtain driver licenses; greater access to social services, and; legal sanctuary from deportation.
“How do you eliminate a race?
That’s what the government has been trying to do for 200 years.
But we’re still here. We have maintained our culture.
We’ve maintained our way of life. We’ve maintained our dignity.
We’re still here.”
— Dave Archambault, chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Council